Interview Advice

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by crazycookin, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    I have my first "Head Chef" interview early next week. This is my next career step, and what I am looking for. I have paid my dues, went to Culinary School, and the last 12 years I have spent working in kitchens (with the exception of the 2 or so years I thought I wanted to do something else and 6 months off when I had my kid). I have spent the last 7 years as a Sous, and feel I am 100% ready to take on a Head Chef position.

    That all being said, I am so nervous I am actually losing sleep. I have had 2 phone interviews already, and feel I am exactly what they are looking for. Now I have to go in, meet the CEO and all of the managers and the corporate chef face to face, and of course, cook for them.

    What I was told is I would have access to anything in the kitchen, and given 3 'key' ingredients. The corporate chef told me in his interview for his 3 key ingredients, they gave him old stinky trout, but he was told to just do whatever he wanted to do.The menu is totally normal, and typical of any kind of 'Roadhouse" type restaurant. It has given me zero inspiration. As I broke down the menu, I jotted everything down in a chart. There are more protein choices then there are veg choices.

    Things I know about this place and what they are aiming to do:

    The corporate chef mentioned the area has a high obesity rate, and he wants things to be fresher, but still enjoyable to the blue collar crowd. He mentioned he wanted someone who is creative, but caters to the local trends. He KNOWS they are protein heavy. He said they will be redoing the menu, and he wasn't against a 100% change. He likes simple. He likes well seasoned food.

    My real problem is this, which direction do I go with the food I make for them? Do I try and 'wow' them with something I am not certain their 'blue collar' crowd would be interesting in, but it really shows off my talents? Or do I play it safe, and do what I think would go with their current menu? I have to say, I haven't cooked this kind of food in awhile (I have worked at mostly fine dining restaurants), and I eat pretty much that way at home (when I get to eat at home, that is). I am totally not trying to sound like a snob, but we just like more complex food.

    Please help me not lose sleep about this interview. Its literally the biggest interview of my life.
     
  2. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    Interview is Monday morning.
     
  3. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    Wow, best of luck to you!  I don't have any specific advice, I'm afraid.  Maybe you can split the difference?  Wow them with one dish or two but present stuff they'll like.  Let us know how it goes for you!
     
  4. iceman

    iceman

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    OK. Here's the best I can give you, for what it's worth ....................

    Wear clean clothes. 

    Look the interviewer in the eyes when you speak as freely, honestly and sincerely as you can. 

    Don't smoke during the interview. 

    Check to make sure that you don't have a chive stuck to your front tooth. 

    After that, it's all a crap-shoot. Good luck. 
     
  5. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    Thanks for making me laugh. I'll make sure my teeth are chive free!
     
  6. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    Well, the interview went really well. I met with all the big wigs, and then cooked. He asked for at least 2 dishes, and I did 3. Afterwards, they asked what kind of salary I was looking for, and when I was looking to start. I gave them my ref's and was told I would know soon.

    20 minutes after leaving, they called to see if it was ok for them to run a background check. They have also called all of my references. Now, I am waiting.
     
  7. gabryelfall

    gabryelfall

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    That's awesome. Good luck! :D Hope to see the results soon.
     
  8. deacon

    deacon

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    They don't run background checks unless they plan on hiring you. I would only assume your references gave a good one so as long as the background check is good. You're in. Congrats!
     
  9. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    Well, I spoke with my references and they both told me what they said. It sounded all good, so I am not worried there (they wouldn't lie about what was said). I am not worried about the background check either... I have managed to stay out of trouble my whole life, so that is ok as well.

    However, they told me I would hear from them by yesterday, and I still have not. I'm really not sure which way this will go. The only thing I can think is that the background check is taking awhile? If I don't hear anything by Friday, I will know for sure I suppose.
     
  10. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    I finally heard back from them. I had pretty much decided that even though they did a background check, and spoke with all of my refs, something must have happened and they just weren't interested.

    Well, I was told they are going to go ahead with the other interviews (3 more interviews left), but I am 'still very much in the running' for the position. I take it as a good sign that I actually DID hear something, being as I explained I had other job offers. Of course, none of them are for what I want in my career. They said they wanted to be fair to the others who applied.

    So I have decided to take a job for the time being here locally, and wait it out. If I don't get this job (which I will know by May 1st), I will keep looking for that perfect dream job. I'll just keep on truckin' and keep my fingers crossed. If this isn't the job for me, that's cool. I know its out there somewhere!
     
  11. greg

    greg

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    It was good of them to keep you updated on the process, that speaks well of the level of professionalism you can expect should you get the position. So, good luck and I hope you get it. My current employer gave me the impression of wanton disorganization in the interview process; they unfortunately haven't let me down.
     
  12. william hayden

    william hayden

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    Hello Friend,

    Firstly best of Luck for your interview. If you already success in your interview than Congrats. I got some idea about interview, really helpful. If you have any knowledge about hotel management and how to a restaurant than please tell me.

    Thanks and Regards,

    William Hayden
     
  13. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    I have NO idea what you are talking about William. Sorry.
     
  14. leeniek

    leeniek

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    Did you end up with the job?
     
  15. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    I won't know until the end of the month. For some reason, they are only doing one interview a week (which makes no sense, since they have no chef there now, and I imagine they are just losing money). But I will keep this thread posted!
     
  16. leeniek

    leeniek

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    That's kind of silly to do it that way.  If I were down a Chef (or any staff member actually) I would definitely  be actively looking for a replacement person ASAP.  As soon as I knew I had my new job, out of respect I called the KM and gave him a heads up so he could start planning who my replacement would be. Interestingly enough (and quite the co-incidence) it seems career changes are afoot for both of us....
     
  17. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    Yes, I saw you just got a new job! Congrats!! I think my interview went well, and I am really hoping to get the job. I am working right now, and its not a bad job, but this position is essentially my dream position at this point in my career. Hopefully it will all work out!
     
  18. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    So I got another call today from them. I was pretty shocked to say the least, because I was told I would not hear anything until the end of the month, at the earliest. The corporate chef called to give me the heads up that the VP would be calling me.

    I was asked to go for ANOTHER interview, this time with the VP of the entire company (I believe he's also the head of HR). No cooking this time, just a sit down and chat kind of thing. 

    I am taking this as a good thing, as its over 2 weeks early that I am hearing, and going for yet another interview (this actually makes interview number FOUR for this position). 
     
  19. leeniek

    leeniek

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    I hope t his means they are hiring you Crazy!  Best of luck and let us know how it comes out!!!
     
  20. crazycookin

    crazycookin

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    Thanks leeniek! The world needs more women running kitchens anyways! :)